Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 00-148
Wed., August 23, 2000
Contact: Clyde Payne
PHONE: (601) 965-4606 Ext. 0
OSHA FINES MORTON INTERNATIONAL, INC. $118,500 FOLLOWING FATALITY AT MOSS POINT, MISS., PLANT
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Morton International, Inc., for 26 safety and health violations and proposed penalties totaling $118,500 following a fatality at the company's Moss Point, Miss., chemical plant.
According to Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson, Miss., area director, one worker was killed when he was overcome by the accidental release of hydrogen sulfide gas during the introduction of a new process. The employee was not wearing a respirator.
The agency conducted comprehensive safety and health inspections following the fatal accident and cited Morton for 20 serious health violations with proposed penalties amounting to $93,000. Health violations included:
-exposing employees to asphyxiation hazards caused by relief devices that vented potentially fatal chemicals into the work area
-failure to equip pressure vessels with relief devices
-the lack of written procedures to manage workplace change
-the lack of respiratory and eye protection
The company was also cited for six serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $25,500. Safety violations included: failure to develop "lockout/tagout" procedures which
render machinery inoperable during maintenance; failure to provide proper training for powered
industrial trucks, and failure to protect employees from electrical hazards.
"This employer failed to keep the workplace free of hazards recognized by the chemical industry," Payne said, "and an employee died. When companies look for hazards and fix them, they save lives."
In 1998, OSHA handled a similar case involving Morton International in Patterson, N.J. Both facilities are subsidiaries of the Rohm and Haas Company, Inc. The approximately 240 employees at the Moss Point plant are part of a worldwide workforce of about 10,600 employees.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have know, of the hazard.
Inspections of the Mississippi facility were conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210, Jackson, Miss. 39211-6323; telephone: (601) 965-4606.
OSHA urges employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the Jackson area office. OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline - 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) - may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
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